5 Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

5 Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

Medical Diagram for Fibromyalgia

Living with fibromyalgia can feel like a battle to ease pain and chronic fatigue. Finding a solution to treat fibromyalgia while staying healthy and active can also feel like a never ending challenge. In this article, we’ve compiled 5 natural remedies for fibromyalgia and the treatment of symptoms.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Body stiffness
  • Difficulty with thinking or focusing
  • A “foggy” memory
  • Struggles with sleeping

If you went to the doctor with any one of these issues, your doctor would likely think it’s a valid issue and worthy of further examination.

Imagine having most of these issues…or all of these issues!

Fibromyalgia Symptoms Infographic

Adults with fibromyalgia don’t have it easy. Not only do symptoms of fibromyalgia manifest in any of the above list, there isn’t a universal test to diagnose all cases. 

Fibromyalgia can’t be measured with numbers on a scale, unlike most other health conditions (blood pressure, diabetes, etc.). Looking for sensitive “tender points” in certain locations of the body is the most common diagnostic test, but that’s not comprehensive enough to identify all people who have the condition. 

Unfortunately, this lack of a clear diagnostic test leads some people to question whether fibromyalgia is real. However, 4 million US adults and about 3-6% of the world’s population can attest to the existence of the disease. 

Fibromyalgia has no known cause, which also makes it challenging to manage. A few proven methods do exist, though. Strength training is one of these methods.

Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia

Before getting into the methods for disease management, let’s look a little deeper at the disease. Risk factors for fibromyalgia include being female, having lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, suffering from a traumatic event (e.g. car accident), having a family history of fibromyalgia, and being obese. 

It’s most commonly diagnosed during middle age. Fibromyalgia pain spots are the jaw, chest, neck, upper back, and hips.

Natural Remedies For Fibromyalgia

Pain relievers and antidepressants are the most common fibromyalgia treatments. They aren’t the only treatment options, though. There are natural remedies for fibromyalgia. These research-supported methods have shown some relief from fibromyalgia symptoms:

Natural Remedies For Fibromyalgia Infographic

1. Vitamin D supplementation

A vitamin D supplement might ease fibromyalgia-related pain. In response to sun exposure, the human body creates vitamin D. Vitamin D can also be increased through the use of supplements or certain foods such as:

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Beef liver
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified milk
  • Fortified cereals and juices

2. Massage therapy

Massage can help provide temporary relief from the muscle pain caused by fibromyalgia by relaxing tendons and muscles, increasing blood flow, and improving psychological comfort. While types of massage can range in style and purpose, massage benefits can include:

  • Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
  • Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension
  • Improving circulation, energy and alertness
  • Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improving immune function

3. Acupuncture

Similar to massage, this could provide temporary pain relief. Acupuncture is a technique that involves inserting very fine needles into your skin at very specific locations on the body that potentially balance energy or impact neurological function. Acupuncture, derived from traditional Chinese medicine, is most typically used to relieve pain. This alternative medicine is increasingly being utilized for overall well-being, including stress reduction.

4. SAM-e

S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is a naturally occurring compound produced and consumed by the liver that regulates hormones and maintains cell membranes. As a dietary supplement, it’s shown the ability to reduce pain and fatigue with those who have fibromyalgia. (For those with fibromyalgia, discuss this with your doctor to determine if and how much of SAM-e you should take as there are some side effects with excess amounts).

5. Strength Training

People with fibromyalgia might initially wonder whether they can safely exercise with their level of pain and discomfort, but research also points to strength training as an option for those with fibromyalgia. Three studies with over 100 women found that strength training 2-3 times per week offers some promising benefits:

Bonus Tip, 5 Extra Benefits Of Strength Training

  1. Overall well-being. Following strength training, women with fibromyalgia felt substantial improvements in their own wellness. 
  2. Physical functioning. Strength training led women to feel more capable of handling their normal activities. 
  3. Pain. Women felt noticeably less pain following the training program. 
  4. Tender point reduction. Strength training decreased the amount of active tender points.
  5. Strength. As you would expect, training led to big strength gains for women with fibromyalgia. 

The results above were obtained in about 4-5 months of strength training. (It’s possible the benefits could be noticed sooner).

Real People With Fibromyalgia

The study results support our experiences working with many clients who had fibromyalgia. As is typical with fibromyalgia cases, the fibromyalgia symptoms were different from client to client.

  • One woman struggled to sleep well and had various pain spots. Within two months of starting, she was sleeping better and had less pain.
  • Another woman had chest and arm pain along with general fatigue. She experienced pain reduction and felt more energetic throughout the school day after a few months.
  • One man, age 68, experienced fibromyalgia and arthritis in his hips and knees and wanted to get through his long workdays without feeling exhausted. Not only did he accomplish an energy boost, he also lost 11 lbs.
Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia helped this client

Being that fibromyalgia manifests in such different ways from person to person, it requires consistent communication between the trainer and the client. If you have fibromyalgia, talk to your trainer about what you feel during and after training. 

Your trainer at The Perfect Workout will work with you to find the right combination of exercises to help you have no negative sensations after while making progress.

Fibromyalgia doesn’t have to stop you from living a high quality life. Feel less pain, gain more strength, and feel better about your health with two short strength training sessions per week.

  1. Busch, A.J., Webber, S.C., Richards, R.S., Bidonde, J., Schachter, C.L., Danyliw, A., … Overend, T.J. (2013). Resistance training (such as weight-lifting) for fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12 (CD010884).
  2. Center for Disease Control. (2020). Fibromyalgia. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm
  3. Iliades, C. (2018). Easing the pain of fibromyalgia naturally. Everyday Health. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/fibromyalgia/8-natural-fibromyalgia-treatments/

DC Personal Trainer Shares Injury Prevention Workout

DC Personal Trainer Shares Injury Prevention Workout

Cam Gatling Personal trainer in DC and at The Perfect Workout

After devoting 12 years to her basketball career, Cam Gatling knew a thing or two about strength and fitness. But when a serious knee injury knocked her down, she discovered the importance of injury prevention and the workout that was perfect for it.

— 

During her junior year of college, Cam tore both of her menisci, resulting in two knee surgeries. 

Recovering from those injuries helped her understand the importance of keeping your body healthy and strong to prevent injury.  

Facing rehabilitation firsthand helped Cam see how integral it was to do joint-safe exercises and have someone knowledgeable to guide her. Cam began to seek out safe and effective exercises she could continue to do in the future.

With a busy schedule graduating with a Business Management degree, serving as co-captain of the Women’s Basketball Team at George Mason University, and starting grad school for Sport Management, Cam needed something efficient too.

She found slow-motion strength training.

Despite her athletic background and years of strength training experience, Cam quickly saw results of her own when she incorporated slow-motion strength training into routine.

Within her first 4 months of using our unique exercise method – and nothing else – she lost 15 pounds. 

Cam decided she wanted to share this method with others and integrate Personal Training into her coaching repertoire. 

“My experiences made me realize that not only do I have a passion for fitness, but for impacting other people’s lives as well.”

She was invited to join The Perfect Workout’s team of trainers and achieved her Personal Trainer Certification in the DC area. 

Now, Cam works with her clients 1-on-1 in the Reston Studio, where she gets to impact their lives with her passion and coaching experience.

Her Favorite Success Stories

One of Cam’s clients told her she recently fell, but was able to get up quickly, without any problems. She said, “Before working with The Perfect Workout, that wouldn't have been possible.”

Another client told Cam, “I'm carrying around my mulch bags from my garden, and I realized that I feel stronger and I'm able to carry these bags without any help.”

“These types of stories touch my heart and I feel blessed to be a trainer here. I feel blessed to be able to have a positive impact in so many lives. And my experience has just been great.”

“I’m grateful to have found a career that allows me to carry out both of my passions. I am excited to help others reach their fitness goals while also developing life-long friendships at The Perfect Workout!”

How to Keep Cholesterol in Check

How to Keep Cholesterol in Check

How to keep Cholesterol in Check
plaque in artery headed to heart

In this article, we explain the importance and the potential dangers of cholesterol. With a simple solution, you will find out how to keep your cholesterol in check, in just 4 weeks.

 

“It is possible to have too much of a good thing.” – Aesop

Too much water.

Too much sun.

Too much exercise.

And your body would say this is also true about cholesterol.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that our body uses to develop other necessary substances like hormones, vitamin D, the membranes of cells, and bile.

We need cholesterol. 

Too much of it can be dangerous though, hence why cholesterol-controlling practices such as strength training have become so highly sought after. 

Going back to the concept of too much of a good thing becoming bad, an excess of cholesterol is considered a “risk factor.” 

In other words, when high levels of cholesterol exist, people are more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or develop diabetes or heart disease. 

A 2020 study published in the journal Circulation estimates that 38% of US adults — about two out of every five people — have high cholesterol! When you combine that with the prevalence of heart disease, which kills over 600,000 people annually in the US, it’s clear that keeping cholesterol in check is a national health concern.

How Much Cholesterol is Too Much?

There are a few measures used to determine whether you have a healthy level of cholesterol or too much of it. (Technically, the ways in which we measure cholesterol aren’t directly measuring cholesterol itself. We measure other particles that relate to cholesterol.) 

Keep Cholesterol in Check Infographic

The following are the most common measures of cholesterol:

  1. HDLs: high-density lipoproteins. These are commonly referred to as the “good cholesterol.” This is the only measure of cholesterol that we want to increase to improve health. 
  2. LDLs: low-density lipoproteins. These are referred to as “bad cholesterol.” 
  3. Triglycerides: these are particles of fat which are found in the body and blood stream. 
  4. Total cholesterol: a total number that includes LDLs, HDLs, and a fraction of the triglyceride total. This is the most comprehensive assessment of cholesterol quantity. Total cholesterol can be skewed by any of the lipoproteins and triglycerides, so if you have high “good cholesterol,” your total cholesterol can also appear high when “bad cholesterol” is normal.

Ideally, we want high HDLs and low LDLs, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.

How to Control Cholesterol

How do we accomplish that and minimize our risk of having heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke?

how to keep cholesterol in check with diet and exercise infographic

Diet to keep your cholesterol in check

A few dietary approaches are shown to work:

  • Eliminate the consumption of trans fats. Trans fats are artificially created fats found in some vegetable oils (try olive oil or avocado oil instead!), baked goods, and non-organic peanut butters.
  • Eat more fiber, specifically soluble fiber. Fiber blocks the absorption of cholesterol from the foods we eat. Foods high in soluble fiber include black beans, lentils, chia seeds, flaxseeds, dried fig, and dried prunes.
  • Consume whey protein. Whey supplementation can reduce triglyceride levels.

Exercise to keep your cholesterol in check

In addition to dietary strategies, another success method is…strength training!

Strength training is a well-established way to manage cholesterol levels. In fact, a research article which tallied the results of 29 studies and over 1,300 adults concluded that strength training reduces total cholesterol, LDLs, and triglycerides. 

These changes could happen after as little as four weeks of training.

Researchers noted that strength training is additionally helpful for controlling cholesterol when people consistently attend their workouts, lose weight, gain muscle, or lift very challenging weights. 

If improving cholesterol levels is important to you, consider combining strength training with some of the dietary approaches listed above. 

Having high cholesterol is an indication that you might be headed toward heart disease, the number one cause of death in the US. 

Fortunately, you have a large say in your own outcome. You can keep your cholesterol in check with a few simple diet changes and a strength training program. 

A single month of strength training with The Perfect Workout can make a significant positive change in your cholesterol… and overall health.

  1. Kelley, G.A. & Kelley, K.S. (2008). Impact of progressive resistance training on lipids and lipoproteins in adults: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Elsevier, 48, 9-19.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/reduce-cholesterol/art-20045935
  3. Sarin, H.V., Ahtiainen, J.P., Hulmi, J.J., Ihalainen, J.K., Walker, S., Kuusmaa-Schildt, M. … Peltonen, H. (2019). Resistance training induces antiatherogenic effects on metabolomic pathways. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 51(9), 1866-1875.
  4. Virani, S.S., Alonso, A., Benjamin, E.J., Callaway, C.W., Carson, A.P. … Tsao, C.W. (2020). Heart disease and stroke statistics — 2020 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 141(9), e139-e596.

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

Sally Determan Fit at 80 from strength training

Sally Determan was nearing her 80th birthday feeling “old and out of shape.”

Off-balance, weak, and overweight, Sally felt like she was paying a big price for years of living an unhealthy lifestyle and little to no exercise.

Fast forward 3 years, Sally is in the best shape of her life and has newfound stamina and strength to help others live a healthier lifestyle! 

As Sally approached her 80th birthday, she noticed that she was getting tired easily and everyday tasks were becoming more difficult.

“I also grew concerned about falls.”

She knew a change was needed and she couldn’t spend the rest of her life slowly declining. So, she started with trying to lose weight.

Sally began her journey at Weight Watchers where she lost some of the excess weight and incorporated water cardio into her routine.

She knew she needed to do something to increase her muscle and bone strength (to prevent falls) but lacked the motivation and know-how to lift weights at home. 

“I HATED the idea of loud, busy, glitzy gyms, filled with lycra-wearing folks 40 or more years younger than me!”

She needed guidance, privacy, and accountability.

Shortly after, Sally saw The Perfect Workout online and realized there was a Falls Church studio (not a gym!), offering a free introductory session. She figured she had nothing to lose by giving it a try, and the idea of 20 minutes, twice a week fit into her schedule.

Sally joined The Perfect Workout in January 2017 and made wonderful progress in improving her strength, stamina, and weight management.

Infographic Strength Training

After all that she’s accomplished so far, Sally is proud of her ability to keep up — actually, lead — other water cardio participants who are ten to fifteen years younger than her. 

“The entire concept that I am a physical fitness guru is astonishing!”

Knowing how important it is to have someone lead her through your workouts, and fitness journey, Sally gives a lot of credit to the team at The Perfect Workout.

“Each of the four trainers with whom I've worked have been excellent — and fun.”

Now, Sally tells people about her slow-motion strength training workouts when they ask her how she got in such good shape. She explains the method, including the concept of going as long and as hard as your muscles permit — very slowly — and how little time it takes.

The Perfect Workout Client Quote

Can Strength Training Help You Live Longer And Pain-Free?

Can Strength Training Help You Live Longer And Pain-Free?

Woman holding neck wanting to Live Pain Free

Accepting illness and physical deterioration used to be the norm because we just didn't know any better. It was all just a part of getting old. 

But now that we know better, we can do better. Our health is in our control even as we age.

The same is true for health. Pain, independence, and premature death are common age-related concerns for many adults. These concerns, though, are just that: concerns. They aren’t guaranteed. 

In fact, there are specific approaches you can take to avoid these side effects of aging. In this article, we’ll address how strength training is one of those approaches.

The Most Common Age-related Concerns that can be avoided with Strength Training

Living With Pain.

According to the CDC, 49.6% of seniors have diagnosed arthritis. This produces a number of side effects, which can vary depending on what joints have arthritis. Common side effects are issues with walking form, limited range of motion, limited function, disability, and pain.

Losing Independence.

About one in every 14 seniors require personal care assistance, according to the CDC. About one in every six adults age 85 years and older live in a nursing home. 


The loss of independence is due to a few factors. Arthritis and other sources of pain limit physical abilities and could lead to relying on others. Strength is one of the biggest factors in determining how well we can physically function.

We lose about 3-8% of our strength per decade, which adds up when reaching our older years. Independence is also lost when major injuries occur and the individual never fully recovers. 

About a third of older adults suffer at least one fall every year. The CDC states that 20-30% of falls lead to injury. Some injuries, such as hip fractures, lead to the permanent loss of independence

Premature Death.

The average adult lives 79 years in the US. However, many don’t reach this point for a variety of reasons: 

the onset of chronic disease, a lack of exercise and overall movement, and many other reasons. 


(If you’re reading this and are thinking, “This is bringing me down.” …keep reading. There’s a happy ending.)


As noted at the beginning, you have a lot of control in what happens with your life. You can take actions to improve your health and longevity. Starting and maintaining a strength training program can prevent or decrease pain, maintain independence, and lengthen your life.


Don’t take our word for it, though. Let’s look at the research:

    • Arthritis/Pain. A few months of twice-weekly strength training substantially reduced arthritis pain, disability, and improved joint range of motion. Training also led to big improvements in strength for the muscles that support the arthritic joints.
    • Fall Risk. A research review which included over 100 studies showed that strength training decreases the risk of falls for older adults.
    • Physical Functioning. As little as 12 weeks of strength training can increase strength and balance in adults between 85 and 97 years old! The increase in strength translates to greater ease with general daily activities: walking long distances, walking upstairs, carrying groceries, etc.
    • Longevity. People who strength train are more likely to live longer lives. A 15-year study of adults 65 years and older showed that strength training at least twice per week was connected with a 46% reduced risk of death. In other words, strength training was linked to one in every two adults living a longer life.

If you take anything from this article, remember this: many side effects of aging are optional. You have control over how you age. You also have an influence on how long you live. 

As the research showed, strength training twice a week can reduce pain, enhance overall function, add strength, build balance, reduce the chances of falling, and might increase your life expectancy.

With slow-motion strength training, we can revolutionize the way people exercise… and live! Share with a friend today,

New to The Perfect Workout? Get a FREE Introductory Session.

  1. Baker, K. R., Nelson, M. E., Felson, D. T., Layne, J. E., Sarno, R., & Roubenoff, R. (2001). The efficacy of home based progressive strength training in older adults with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.  Journal of Rheumatology, 28, 1655–166.
  2. Cadore, E. L., Casas-Herrero, A., Zambom-Ferraresi, F., Idoate, F., Millor, N., Gómez, M.,…& Izquierdo, M. (2014). Multicomponent exercises including muscle power training enhance muscle mass, power output, and functional outcomes in institutionalized frail nonagenarians. Age36(2), 773-785.
  3. El-Khoury, F., Cassou, B., Charles, M. A., & Dargent-Molina, P. (2013). The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Bmj347, f6234.
  4. Foroughi N., Smith  R. M., Lange, A. K., Baker, M. K., Fiatarone Singh, M.A.,  & Vanwanselle, B. (2011). Lower limb muscle strengthening does not change frontal plane moments in women with knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Biomechanics, 26, 167-174.
  5. Kraschenewski, J. L., Sciamanna, C. N., Poger, J. M., Rovniak, L. S., Lehman, E. B., Cooper, A.B., … Ciccolo, J. T. (2016). Is strength training associated with mortality benefits? A 15 year cohort study of US older adults. Preventative Medicine, 87, 121-127.
  6. Serra‐Rexach, J. A., Bustamante‐Ara, N., Hierro Villarán, M., González Gil, P., Sanz Ibáñez, M. J., Blanco Sanz, N., … & Lucia, A. (2011). Short‐term, light‐to moderate‐intensity exercise training improves leg muscle strength in the oldest old: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society,59(4), 594-602.

More Exercise Isn’t Better. Better Exercise is Better.

More Exercise Isn't Better. Better Exercise is Better.

Are you eating less and exercising more but gaining weight?

Spending longer hours at the gym, but can’t get rid of that tummy?

Signing up for more workout classes, but don’t have time to do the things you really want?

In this article we address a common belief that “more is better” when it comes to exercise. You’ll learn how taking a smarter, “less is more” approach to exercise can produce better results and save you time.

Eating more and exercising more isnt better, slow motion strength training is better

How to Get Stronger in Under 20 Minutes

Most people spend an hour in the gym for a strength training workout. Did you know strength can be maximized with workout sessions lasting less than 20 minutes?

One study (1) experimented with individuals who strength trained for two months. All participants in three different groups performed the same full-body workout but with different workloads.

  • GROUP 1: performed one set per exercise. (7 total sets per workout)
  • GROUP 2: performed three sets per exercise (21 total sets) 
  • GROUP 3: performed five sets per exercise (35 total sets)

** All sets were performed to muscle success (aka. Temporary muscle fatigue)

The secret to a successful workout

All groups gained strength, but the strength tests which included a bench press and a barbell squat showed no statistical difference in strength gain for each group. 

This is significant when considering the amount of time spent exercising:

 

GROUP 3 averaged 68 minutes per workout
GROUP 2 averaged 40 minutes per workout
GROUP 1 trained for just 13 minutes per workout

 

Therefore, training intensely for 13 minutes can produce similar strength gains compared to training for 68 minutes. You get a five-fold return on your time investment. 

The 13-minute routine used in Group 1 is similar to a typical session at The Perfect Workout: 

 

  • one set per exercise
  • seven exercises total
  • each set performed to “muscle success”
  • each workout targeting all major muscle groups

 

This similarity is not a coincidence. Our method is designed to help you become strong, healthy and able-bodied without wasting your time. In fact, you get your time back.

Exercise Everyday? Not Necessary

A common misconception about exercise is that we need to exercise almost every day, if not every day of the week.

This approach to exercise can actually hinder results.

In another study (2), 72 women between the ages of 60-74 were tested before and after a 16-week exercise program. There were 3 groups:

*Aerobic workouts were cycling/treadmill for 20-40 min at 80% of max heart rate

**Strength training workouts- each set of repetitions was taken to the deep fatigue point of “muscle success”

1+1 Group:

Performed 1 low intensity aerobic workout per week

1 high intensity strength training workout per week

2 total workouts per week

2+2 Group: 

Performed 2 low intensity aerobic workouts per week

2 high intensity strength training workouts per week

4 total workouts per week

3+3 Group: 

Performed 3 low intensity aerobic workouts per week

3 high intensity strength training workouts per week

6 total workouts per week

Results measured included: total number of calories expended per day (TDEE), non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and fat loss.

 

1+1 Group:

  • increased their NEAT by 57 calories per day
  • increased their TDEE per day by an additional 30 calories
  • averaged 2.2 lbs of fat loss. 

2+2 Group: 

  • increased their NEAT by 200 calories per day
  • increased their TDEE per day by an additional 195 calories
  • 2+2 group lost the most fat, dropping 4.4 fat lbs

3+3 Group: 

  • decreased their average daily NEAT by 150 calories. 
  • decreased their TDEE per day by an average of 63 calories, despite the extra activity level of working out six days per week.
  • averaged 1.1 lbs of fat loss. 

 

The group that spent the most time exercising wound up burning fewer calories and losing less fat than both of the other two groups. 

This study is evidence that more exercise doesn't necessarily produce better results.

In fact, too much physical stress (including exercise stress) can cause the body to react in unfavorable ways. You want just the right amount of high-intensity exercise stress for optimal improvements, and no more.

If you want to get optimal results you need to value resting and recovering from your workouts

More is not better quote from Alex Stefan

Learn to Work HARDER, Not Longer.

A typical slow-motion strength training workout generally consists of 7-8 exercises per session. This may vary slightly depending on a number of factors: once or twice a week, injuries, limitations and individual goals.

 

In theory, you can hit all major muscle groups with just 4 exercises:

  • Leg Press: Glutes, Quadriceps, Calves(or Squat for Virtual)
  • Chest Press: Pectorals, Shoulders, Triceps (or Push-up for Virtual)
  • Lat Pulldown: Lats, Biceps, Abdominals (or Superman for Virtual)
  • Leg Curl: Hamstrings (same for Virtual)

 

Depending on the individual, we can also incorporate other machines to target specific muscle areas, including:

  • Leg Extension: Quadriceps (same for Virtual)
  • Preacher Curl: Biceps, Forearms (or Bicep Curl for Virtual)
  • Tricep Extension: Triceps (or Tricep Dips for Virtual)
  • Hip Abduction: Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minor, TFL (or Fire Hydrant for Virtual)
  • Hip Adduction: Inner Thighs (or Pillow Squeeze for Virtual)
  • Compound Row: Trapezoids, Rhomboids, Biceps (often interchangeable for Lat Pulldown) (or Row for Virtual)
  • Abdominal Machine: Abdominals (or Crunches for Virtual)
muscles worked on exercises

If you look at the first list, you’ll notice the entire body can be targeted with just four exercises, making it simple and efficient to get a full-body workout.

More exercises can be added to further fatigue smaller muscles that may have not achieved muscle success on bigger-muscle machines. 

For example, the biceps are the secondary muscles used on the Lat Pulldown. The Preacher Curl can be added to further fatigue them.

 

This does not mean it is necessary to do all machines and exercises in every workout.

In fact, having the ability to easily complete 11 slow-motion strength training exercises is a good indication that the intensity level is not high enough. 

Think of your workouts as a short sprint, not a mile-long race. The reason there isn’t a mile dash in track & field is because nobody can sprint that far, or work that hard for that long. 

 

Since intense effort is what stimulates best results from the muscles (and the body), demanding slow-motion strength training workouts have to be brief.

If you feel like you can perform slow-motion strength training exercises for more than 20 minutes at a time, you can probably improve your results by increasing the intensity and learning how to work harder.

 

This applies to every single exercise too.

An appropriate weight will allow you to maintain a slow speed while eliminating any momentum. Therefore, slow lifting makes greater demands on the muscles, and provides a more effective stimulus for the muscles. 

An ideal exercise should take about 1-2 minutes to hit muscle success. Anything over 2 minutes indicates the weights may be too light for you, thus making the exercise less efficient.

Rest AFTER the Workout

Have you ever thought, ”Why doesn’t my trainer give me any breaks between exercises?!” 

 

One reason is minimal rest between exercises improves the cardiovascular impact of the workout. 

The only way to “get at” your cardiovascular system during exercise is to make the muscles work hard. We achieve that by hitting muscle success. Slow-motion repetitions make your muscles work much harder than most exercises which puts a greater demand and stimulus on your cardiovascular system.

your heart and eating less and exercising more
Image Source: Cybex

Little to no time to rest between exercises quickens the process of getting to muscle success, making the overall workout more efficient. 

While strength training in general provides several improvements to the cardiovascular system, many benefits are received or amplified only when training to muscle success. 

Another Area to Avoid Resting is Between Repetitions.

One study (3) observed what happened when two different groups strength trained. Resting was compared against not resting between repetitions:

 

  • GROUP 1: lifted continuously from start to finish in each set (we use this in our protocol)
  • GROUP 2: took a short break in the middle of the set. 

 

When muscle biopsies were taken from the quadriceps, the fibers from GROUP 1 had grown 13%, whereas GROUP 2 only grew 4%. 

Keeping your muscles continuously loaded without any rest (as we employ with our slow-motion repetitions) yields the best results.

Save the rest & recovery for after your workouts. You’re going to need it!

Need Proof 20 Minutes is Enough?

We’ve helped over 40,000 clients improve their bodies and health over the last couple of decades with our 20-minute, twice a week protocol.

Here are just some of their success stories:

Over a 20-day period in May 2020, we measured just how long it takes for an average client of The Perfect Workout to complete a workout and the amount of time spent on each exercise. This is what we found out:

These are the people seeing significant results… And they are doing it with two workouts a week, for 20-minutes.

Now That You Know...

At the end of the day, we want to spend time doing the things we love, and there’s no reason for exercise to get in the way.

Now that you know:

  • You can get the same strength gains, if not more, in 13 minutes than you can in 68 minutes
  • More workouts per week can actually hinder your results
  • Doing more exercises than needed in a session is an indication the workout may not be intense enough and you can be working harder
  • You can get a full body-workout in with just 4 exercises
  • More rest in a workout can reduce muscle growth and cardiovascular impact

If you could save hours each week doing more of what you love, would you?

What you get working out with this method is not only guaranteed results, but also your time back!

We know you value your health and exercise should be at the top of your priority list, but it doesn’t need to fill up your calendar.

Imagine what you could gain from saving time in your week getting a more efficient workout.

Whether you’re looking to get stronger, carve out more time to play golf, or simply keep up with the grandkids, all you need is 20 minutes, twice a week.

  1. Schoenfeld, B.J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2018). Resistance training volume enhances muscle hypertrophy but not strength in trained men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
  2. Hunter, G. R., Bickel, C. S., Fisher, G., Neumeier, W., & McCarthy, J. (2013). Combined Aerobic/Strength Training and Energy Expenditure in Older Women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. (Published ahead of print).
  3. Fisher, J., Steele, S., & Smith, D. (2013). Evidence-­‐based resistance training recommendations for muscular hypertrophy. Medicina Sportiva, 17(4): 217-­‐235.

Decreased Risk For Fall: Improving Balance for Seniors

Decreased Risk For Fall: Improving Balance for Seniors

The Perfect Workout Client happy that she improved her balance

How Beth Decreased her Risk For Fall in 6 months

A progressive neurological condition that affected Beth Johns’ coordination and balance was slowly increasing her risk for a harmful fall.

As she approached her 60s, Beth stopped trying to manage her health and fitness alone and sought out an exercise program at The Perfect Workout.

Beth lives with a condition called Ataxia.

What is Ataxia?

“Ataxia describes a lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements, such as walking or picking up objects.” (Mayo Clinic)

This condition can cause:

  • Poor coordination
  • Balance problems
  • Unsteady walk and a tendency to stumble
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line
  • Difficulty with fine motor tasks, such as eating, writing or buttoning a shirt
  • Change in speech
  • Involuntary back-and-forth eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Difficulty swallowing

Beth in particular, would often feel unsteady on her feet and easily lose her balance. 

“I've fallen a few times and was really worried and discouraged that my condition was progressing much faster than I had expected it to. The more I worried about it, the less I felt like doing.”

Beth was approaching her 60th birthday and knew she needed to take a different course of action. 

She tried doing strength and balance DVDs on her own but found it was hard to stay motivated. 

Beth knew that joining a gym wouldn't work for her because she really needed the one-on-one support. She needed someone there to guide her, teach her how to exercise correctly, and keep her accountable.

Woman Celebrating International Ataxia Awareness Day

After doing her research, Beth found The Perfect workout. She felt reassured when she saw people her age improving some of her same areas of concern, like falling

The idea of being able to see results in 20 minutes, twice a week without having to be in a public setting was very appealing. 

In November, 2020 Beth joined the Southwest San Jose studio and began her training program.

Beth’s goal was to strengthen her core and increase her overall strength to decrease her risk of falling. She had also recently had been diagnosed with osteopenia and knew it was important to do weight-bearing exercise to improve her bone density

Within 7 months, Beth has noticed significant improvements.

  • Gained strength
  • Back isn’t stiff in the morning anymore
  • Improved her posture and has good balance on her feet
  • Can squat down and stand up without falling over
  • Physical therapist says she’s improved a lot in the past year.
Testimonial Improved Balance From Wife with Husband

“All of the trainers I've worked with have been wonderful. Patient and encouraging. They've pushed me to do much more than I thought I was capable of. Candice got me started. Maria and Kylie have definitely kept me going!”

 

Feeling physically stronger and steadier makes Beth feel like she’s taken charge of her Ataxia and has greatly improved her mental wellbeing. She now sees that Investing in her physical health is an investment in her future, especially as she gets older, and encourages others to do the same.

 

“Friends that I haven't seen in a while say that I really look great! I definitely feel more confident. I know that it's only going to get better.”

 

The Perfect Workout is for regular people, just like Beth. It's not intimidating. It's a personalized experience and the trainers are there to help support your success. And it’s possible to see results in just 20 minutes, twice a week.

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis

With multiple sclerosis (MS), it can feel like your life is out of your control. People with chronic diseases like MS are two-to-three times more likely to suffer from depression. And although feeling discouraged when dealing with a chronic health issue is understandable, studies show that mindset can play a powerful part in the journey to managing a disease like MS. 

Those who feel like they have control over their health often have better health outcomes. This isn’t just a testament to the power of positive thinking; people who believe they have control are more likely to regularly participate in healthy behaviors. Those behaviors can influence factors such as lifespan, quality of life, and whether the condition progresses.

Multiple sclerosis is no exception. While it can be a daunting condition, health habits have a large impact on how – and if – the condition progresses. One of these health habits is strength training.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Before getting into the benefits of strength training, let’s talk about Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects about a million Americans and over 2.3 million people worldwide. 

The affected population is growing too, with an increase over 300% since the 1990s. There is no known cause of MS. Genetics and environment both play a role in the risk of developing the disease, with family members and those in locations with less sunlight seeming to be at the greatest risk. Women are also at a greater risk, with diagnosis most commonly occurring between 20 and 50 years old.

MS features lesions on the myelin sheath, which is a tissue that covers nerves. The sheath helps with delivering messages quickly to other parts of the body. When it’s damaged, the ability of the central nervous system to communicate with other parts of the body is affected. 

 

People with MS experience a number of potential challenges as a result: 

  • Difficulty with walking
  • Fatigue
  • Strength loss
  • Heat intolerance
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues
  • Difficulty with precise movements and other symptoms.
How can Strength Training help Multiple Sclerosis Diagram
mage source: Healthline

Strength Training and MS

The symptoms and MS’s progression are not guaranteed, though. An article authored by researchers in Denmark detailed the results of 16 strength training research programs for those who are living with MS. A number of benefits were observed. 

Strength training leads to a reduction in fatigue, one of the most common MS symptoms. Strength training enhances overall mood, lower body strength, and balance. Perhaps stemming from the increase in strength and balance, training led to more ease with daily activities. These activities include walking long distances, standing from chairs, and stair-climbing. The majority of studies showed these benefits were obtained from training twice per week.

All of the above benefits are meaningful contributions to quality of life. There might be a more important benefit, though. Strength training might stop MS progression. Those who strength trained for six months experienced a lack of lesion growth during that time. The researchers also observed that strength training might even help the brain tissue regrow!

Is Strength Training Safe for Those With MS?

These benefits all sound promising, but there’s an important question to ask: Is strength training safe for those with multiple sclerosis? 

In the 16 studies discussed in the Danish research article, workout session attendance ranged from 90-100%. Drop-out rates ranged from 0-13%. No major injuries or side effects were reported in any study. In short, people with MS made almost all of their workouts, the vast majority of people finished their workout program obligations, and no major issues occurred. 

The Perfect Workout is uniquely advantageous for people with MS. As noted before, those with MS often have an intolerance for heat. The Perfect Workout studios are clinically controlled environments, keeping the temperature between 65-68 degrees and fans that can be used upon request. All studios have water coolers with available cold water. (Even if you’re Virtually Training, the brief nature of the 20-minute workout leaves little time to work up a sweat.) In addition, every client has a dedicated Personal Trainer who tailors the workout to the client’s needs and challenges.

If you have MS, don’t let the disease control your future. Control your own future. Strength train twice per week to reduce fatigue, enhance strength and balance, make daily activities easier, and possibly halt the progression of MS.

  1. Helgeson, V.S. & Zajdel, M. (2017). Adjusting to chronic health conditions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68(1), 545-571. 
  2. Kjolhede, T., Vissing, & Dalgas, U. (2011). Multiple sclerosis and progressive resistance training: a systematic review. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 0(0), 1-14. 
  3. Kjolhede, T., Siemonsen, S., Wenzel, D., Stellmann, J.P., Ringgaard, S., Pedersen, B.G., …Dalgas, U. (2017). Can resistance training impact MRI outcomes in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis Journal, DOI: 10/1177/1352458517722645.
  4. Cobb-Clark, D.A., de New, S.C., & Schurer, S. (2014). Healthy habits: the connection between diet, exercise, and locus of control. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 98, 1-28.   Link: https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/6789/healthy-habits-the-connection-between-diet-exercise-and-locus-of-control
  5. Berglund, E., Lystsy, P., & Westerling, R. (2014). The influence of locus of control on self-rated health in context of chronic disease: a structural modeling approach in a cross sectional study. BMC Public Health, 14, 492.      Link: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-492

How Many Calories Do You Burn During a Workout vs. After?

One of the most common questions we hear is, “How many calories did I burn from my workout?”

To help answer that question, let’s talk money.

The traditional method for making money is exchanging time for money. 

You finish a project or complete a few days of work, and you’re compensated for those hours or work that you completed. You work 40 hours in a week and you’re paid for that week in the following paycheck. It’s a one-time compensation for the work completed. This is the common model of making money, and the traditional lens through which people think about burning calories.

Another way to make money is receiving residual income. A person works to complete a product or service, then receives ongoing payments or royalties after the work is already done. An example of this is writing a book and receiving continued payments for the book as it continues to sell. 

For many, the most valued benefit of exercise is that it “burns” calories, which can help with weight loss or maintaining weight loss (calories are technically “expended,” but “burned” is the more popular phrase). 

Traditionally, we look at exercise through the “time for money” model. We judge exercise by how many calories we burned during the workout, as if a workout was a one-time payment. Viewing exercise in this way is both right and wrong. 

Exercise is exchanging time for calories burned, but workouts also have residual benefits where you continue to burn calories after the workout. This is especially true for exercise at The Perfect Workout.

The Perfect Workout Client Strength Training

Calories Burned During the Workout

Hustling through your session at The Perfect Workout must count for something, right? Yes! 

The effort you put into moving quickly through your exercises makes the training more beneficial in a few ways, including increasing the calories burned during your workout. 

According to data from Harvard Health Publishing, exercise similar to The Perfect Workout burns about 4-8 calories per minute. 

Calories burned per minute are influenced by whether a person truly reaches “muscle success” on each exercise, how quickly a person moves when transitioning between exercises, and by how much the person weighs (heavier people burn more calories when working at the same intensity).

Using the Harvard data, a 20-minute session could expend 80 to 160 calories.

Calories Burned After the Workout

As noted before, The Perfect Workout burns calories not only during the session but with residual calories after the workout as well. 

A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that a single workout can increase metabolism up to 72 hours afterwards. The metabolism increase in the study was about 70-90 extra calories burned per day. 

This post-workout benefit doesn’t happen with all types of activity. Most activities, such as walking, riding a bike, and jogging, are limited to the calories burned only during the activity. 

Strength training’s intensity boosts metabolism for a prolonged period due to a few factors: 

  • replenishing stored glucose
  • converting lactic acid into glucose
  • elevated levels of some neurotransmitters and hormones
  • returning core temperature and breathing rate to normal levels

In slow-motion strength training workouts, you burn calories during the session and for days after. Evaluating The Perfect Workout through the traditional lens of only calories burned during the session would underestimate it’s value because you forget about all the calories you burn AFTER the workout. 

Combining the workout and post-workout estimates, a workout could burn anywhere from 200 to 340 calories. When considering that this all comes from a single 15-20-minute session, the calories spent for your work is definitely a return on investment.

New to slow-motion strength training? Try an Intro Workout today!

Ultra-marathoner improves times with Slow-Motion Strength Training

emma cruz personal trainer

After battling running injuries and overcoming an eating disorder, ultramarathoner Emma Cruz turned her health journey into a career helping others.

In high school, Emma was a runner and suffered from an eating disorder.

I discovered that running was amazing, but the eating disorder was not.”

Emma decided to learn more about running and how to nourish her body, but she didn't stop there. She went on to study health, fitness, and nutrition and got a degree in Health Sciences. 

Running became a bigger and bigger part of Emma’s life as she took on half-marathons, full marathons, and ultimately became an ultra-marathoner. (An ultramarathon is a long-distance running race longer than a marathon – longer than 26 miles 385 yards/42.195 km.)

Running was so rough on my body and my joints.” 

And although she found that yoga helped ease some of the tension in her body, she realized she wasn’t doing anything to build strength.

Ultimately, Emma found slow-motion strength training and was blown away by her results.

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20 Minutes Twice A Week:
Life-changing

“It was surprising how quickly I managed to put muscle on. I couldn't believe that it worked!”

Learning how to effectively strength train helped Emma become more connected with her body. It helped improve her running speeds and the way she feels about her body.

With a background in health science and a love for strength training, Emma decided to become a Certified Personal Trainer specializing in slow-motion exercise methodology and helping others achieve better health in two, 20-minute sessions a week.

Emma Cruz Personal Trainer

Changing Clients’ Lives Too

One of Emma's clients, a woman in her 80's, couldn’t walk without a cane when she first began training at The Perfect Workout. 

After training for three months with Emma, her client was able to ditch the cane and walk on her own. 

Read another incredible story about how Adele Biancarelli got strong enough to walk without assistance too!

Stories like these motivate Emma because she’s able to see the powerful results she can help her clients achieve in such a short amount of time. 

No matter your ability level or athleticism, whether you’re someone looking to improve your running speeds or have a goal to walk without a cane, slow-motion strength training has the power to change your body and your life. 

And all it takes is 20 minutes, twice a week.

Too many people sacrifice their health and quality of life because they allow themselves to get weak and out of shape. With The Perfect Workout, you can safely reshape your health and body in just 20 minutes, twice a week. Guaranteed.

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